Wednesday, May 28

If only every morning was so successful...

I arrived at my Italian School, spot on 9am, to find no one else there. 

Today, with the 3 hours I was expecting to be sitting at a desk completing mind-numbingly boring Italian reading and writing exams I have managed to:

- get my Carta d'Identità (hooray...only 2 years 9 months behind!)

- ask the very hot-headed lady at the Rai customer service how I declare that I do not own a television and therefore paying for the licence to have one seems, well, down right ridiculous.

The very hostile lady did eventually warm up a bit and inform me that because I didn't declare this 2 years ago when I moved out of the house that had the television, I have to pay 2 and a half years of the licence anyway.  But I can write a letter to the television people explaining my circumstances so hopefully I won't pay in the future.  Yes, I know it all makes no sense.  No, I'm not going to just ignore it, I'll do what I have to to make sure I never pay anything in the future.

- apply for an online bank account which has no charges for transfers (i.e. paying my rent which is currently costing me €3 each time) nor charges for withdrawals internationally.

Now I just have to verify my identity via webcam on Friday morning.  Oh, that, and put money in the account...easier said than done!

- scan all the paperwork needed to process a claim from the last car I hired in Italy.

Please, people, do me a favour and don't use Sicily by Car, as a car hirer (otherwise known as "Dollar", "Thrifty", "AutoEurope" and "AutoEuropa").  It's all hunky-dory if you don't have any damages, but if, in the very unlikely event you do have problems, they don't half sting ya!

- ignore the email from my Masters tutor...that can wait...he's probably telling me my proposal is barking up the wrong tree anyway!

And that's all before 12.30pm.  I know some people that would've taken months to get all that lot done!!!

Brava La-oo-ra, brava!

Saturday, May 24

I'm digressing somewhat.

Wowsers, a month since the last blog post...

Today I'm having a day to catch up on myself.  Look through the credit card bill, check up on the places I have to go to sort things out: assessing the preparations before the action-if you like.  I've also been reading up a lot about 'playwork' and have found myself wondering how I can become a bit more like a 'real' playworker in my current job.  It's a bit of a digression from my Masters but hey, it's a lazy day.

As this academic year slowly creeps to an end, and I love the end to my academic year as it consists of over a month playing on the beach, I'm projecting my thoughts to September and how to create an environment that can truly 'teach English through play' but I keep stumbling upon one problem:
Play is a set of behaviors that are freely chosen, personally directed, and intrinsically motivated.

(as quoted from 'The Play Primer' by Penny Wilson, downloadable here: http://www.ultimateblockparty.com/download/Playwork_Primer.pdf)

You've got to read it a few times to really understand.  So read it over, please.

The problem is that the children I support will freely choose to speak in Italian making the job of teaching English just that little bit...trickier?

However, this years leavers not be speaking English with all the correct grammatical bells and whistles but they can definitely explain their thinking in a way that is pretty coherent without "translating".  We have discussed everything from the sun to the moon, from Australia to Italy and back, in this years project 'The World and Us'.  Plus, in doing so we have also learnt some pretty advanced social and emotional skills too.

Like, just the other day, we watched the video of my Mum having her hair cut in aid of a brain tumour charity.  Afterwards, the children that are this years 'leavers' remained to have a chat: they had many, many questions. We ended up discussing the brain, its function, what it's like, where it is, why it's 'in our head'.  This was all illustrated, thanks to the latest addition of an Interactive Whiteboard, by x-rays and images of brains to assist with the explanations they were after.  Of course I was careful in how far I took the explanations, emphasising how tumours are rare in the hope to avoide any sleepless nights.  

Something worries me though.  I would have never been able to plan this type of investigation using a planning format from my previous school and I'm beginning to wonder if I can ever return to the formalised schooling practices I was once able to mentor others in doing.  But then again, I have been able to do that in the past so I could do it again if I chose to.  It's just that the National Curriculum is not my outcome at the moment, nor are the completion of APP sheets, mid-term plans etc. etc.   In fact the learning objective, the WALT (We are learning to...) for everything I do is quite simply 'interact in and with English', whereas the WILT (What I'm looking for...) is 'interactions in English'.  Simples.  I just have to remind myself of that sometimes!